The case of the disappearing client

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A client of mine was hot and heavy to move forward with an engagement last month. He paid me 50% upfront right away (BTW — I am more than willing to give up credit card fees to send an electronic link to clients for upfront payment; many times, clients will even pay 2% more than the engagement price to cover these fees and get me started right away.), and I have been delivering ever since.

Then, suddenly, he disappeared. I sent stuff, and heard nothing back. He didn’t return my calls. I delivered a set of brochures he needed for an urgent meeting, for which he had to review proofs at the printer, and I heard nothing.

Friday I called again and the receptionist said he was at a meeting. He didn’t return my calls.

So today I sent an email with more deliverables saying I couldn’t do more unless he was more responsive, that I enjoyed working with him, but the relationship had to be a two-way street.

In my mind, I was thinking, “He hates my work and is going to fire me. Or his company has changed course. Or he found someone less expensive. Or something really bad happened when my designer sent the printer the brochure proofs. Or his company is bankrupt…..”

Today the client emailed me saying he had been sick, was back in the office, and just getting caught up.

So, here is the lesson:

When a client disappears, don’t say or do anything drastic until you have the facts. Keep delivering. Assume the best. Be professional in your correspondence. And don’t let your brain and its crazy negative thoughts make you do something stupid.

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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